Overwatch has technically been out for almost a year now, and the fire is still burning brightly. You know that it’s a huge success when the 9Gag community is still making memes out of it and many are relating to it.
The main highlight of Overwatch is its colorful pool of characters. If you haven’t read about the story yet — there was once an international task force of heroes who banded together to restore peace under a banner called “Overwatch”. The gameplay however, divorced from that lore. Basically, you could play Overwatch without ever really knowing its story or what it’s all about. All you need to know is that you’re playing for the characters.
Oh those colorful characters
I started playing Overwatch during the Halloween season. At first, I was gravitated toward the characters who look cool, but that soon changed. In time, I learned about the importance of building a team that complement each other’s skill pool. There are four types of heroes in Overwatch: offense, defense, tanks and supports. Reinhardt, for example, can generate a large shield in which everyone can get behind to without taking damage from the enemy. Tracer, the hero that I am currently maining right now, is a quick little gal who can blink at the back of the enemy lines to disrupt their momentum and pick off any support heroes who can’t battle her directly. Widowmaker, one of the three snipers of the game, can grappling hook herself to high ground and can one-shot most of the heroes if she can land a solid headshot. This is just a small part of the big roster, but Overwatch gives you the freedom to take on a variety of different roles that suit your game style.
Matches are exciting
Overwatch gives you unexpected matches that has their own unique objectives. There’s the escort match wherein one team will have to escort the payload to a certain destination while the other team tries to hold it off. The control match is like king-of-the-hill wherein you’ll have to hold off the point from each other to a certain amount of time. And there’s the hybrid match which is a combination of both where you’ll play control first then if the enemy team succeeds, it turns into an escort match.
This means that every Overwatch match starts with a good dose of anxiety before it shows you what kind of match it is. On top of that, there is a good number of maps to play in. It also adds a layer of thinking because some heroes are good at a certain map. Good thing is that you are given a whole minute to talk and strategize with your team.
What I like about this air time is that it generates a sense of camaraderie in the game. Players try their best to grab each other’s attention during this phase, they spam “hello”, show off their character skin, and some expresses emotions that they exchange to each other with. It doesn’t affect the whole match but it gives everyone a GTA sense that you can do everything unimportant while having fun.
Once the match officially starts, everyone gets serious and competitive. Attackers do their best to reach the objective while the defenders try to stop at all costs. Of course, the defenders have the upper hand as they have time to set up traps and choke points. But because the attackers are spawning nearer the point, eventually they can turn the tide of the game and this is where the real excitement of Overwatch begins.
You don’t need to be good at FPS
Coming from playing CS: GO, I had to undergo some massive deprogramming. Overwatch doesn’t really need you to be good at FPS, but it expects you to work as a team and develop a good game sense during the match. It also wants you to explore all of its characters because sometimes, objective changes mid-match. Once the attackers successfully captures the point, the game’s objective and environment changes entirely. You might want to pick Widowmaker during defense but after that you’ll have to switch to Tracer so you can pick-off enemy supports that are escorting the payload. The game wants you to change your team composition to suit the objective and that is one of the main reasons why I get to fall in love with this game.
Overwatch wants you to be creative
Yes, there are heroes that are difficult to master like Tracer, Genji and Winston, but it also gives you the opportunity to appreciate Overwatch more. For the longest time, I played Overwatch with Widowmaker’s long-range sniping feat, but then I became more interested in disrupting enemies in the backline and wasting their time chasing me with Tracer. The ability to change characters on-the-fly pushed me to be creative with my gameplay. I’m playing the game every night for almost 3 months now, and I haven’t mastered all of the characters yet.
The game thanks you after every match
Once a match is over, Overwatch creates this highlight for those players who shined brightest during the game. First, every match has a “play of the game”, I didn’t really want to call it play of the game because it only shows the moment wherein the player gets the most number of kills. Not the one who actually turned the tide of the game and supports that made clutch skills to win the match. Although, I’m glad that Blizzard is working on improving it.
After the play of the game, Overwatch tallies up a bunch of statistics to highlight four players that stood out in the game. The game shouts you out for useful things like healing, kill streak, eliminations, and time in the objective. Other players are then prompted to upvote for the MVP to reassure you that you did great in that game. It goes to show that you have to give props to your team and enemies also.
A community that wants you to stay and play the game
What makes you stay in Overwatch is its community. People who are playing the game are fun to talk to. But don’t get me wrong, there’s still those salty players who flames you all throughout the game just because you didn’t pick the hero that they wanted you to play with. If you get the chance to play at a certain rank, people will always politely suggest heroes that goes well with the team. Heck, even the enemy team give props to me when I was on a roll with my Widowmaker. You don’t really get that much of respect and camaraderie from other games like DOTA and CS:GO.
I also love that Blizzard is constantly updating the game. They make seasonal updates just like their Winter Wonderland during Christmas wherein you’ll be able to unlock cool themed skins for your heroes. They even went far that they gave us 5 free loot boxes on Christmas Day. Blizzard is also working closely with players to get feedback and reports if there are any bugs. It’s also good that they release new characters from time to time but I do wish that they make it faster as since the launch of the game in May 2016, we only got 2 new characters (Ana and Sombra).